Unlike iPhone 13, all iPhone 14 models may flaunt 120Hz refresh rate displays

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With the iPhone 13 series, Apple will finally get with the program, and introduce a modern display with low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) technology and a high refresh rate. While other companies are increasingly moving their 90Hz and 120Hz downmarket to phones as cheap as $299, Apple will, however, keep the 120Hz panels only for the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max models.


Unfortunately, that leaves the regular iPhone 13 which, just like the iPhone 12 before it, may prove the most popular device in the series, and one of the world's most sold phones in the year after its launch, with a puny 60Hz display still.

All your 120Hz displays are belong to the iPhone 14, LG!


Perhaps one of the reasons for the iPhone 13 missing the 120Hz refresh deadline is that its OLED display, and the 5.4" panel of the 13 mini, will be made by LG, rather than Samsung. Last year, Apple finally managed to diversify its OLED screen suppliers by tasking LG with producing the iPhone 12 display, and this year it has ordered up to 50 million panels from Samsung's competitor, too. 

Granted, it ordered more than twice that number from Samsung, but what LG has to make is still a staggering jump in iPhone display supplier diversification. The problem? Well, LG doesn't make LTPO displays in a size bigger than those for the Apple Watch just yet, Thus, it can't really craft panels that will refresh 120 time per second, and won't kill the battery, especially where the 13 mini is concerned, whose battery life is pretty abysmal as it is.

Tucked in a Korean display industry report from The Elec, the info that a company called Avaco is supplying LTPO screen-making equipment to LG leads to the acknowledgment that LG just doesn't have the technology needed for sufficient LTPO panel production yields. At least not in time for the iPhone 13 that is about to be announced in two months, and its component orders have already been finalized.

"Avaco has begun talks with LG Display over the specifications of the sputters that will be used to manufacture low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) OLED production," says the report, and adds that "LG Display will likely give the order from the equipment once its customer Apple approves its OLED production line."

What does all this industry shop talk mean? Well, apparently it will take Avaco and LG a while to get the green light on the LTPO panel technology yields from Apple, then Avaco has to ship and mount the equipment to LG Display’s E6-1, E6-2 and E6-3 OLED production lines.

All this retooling that is still to happen explains why we won't be seeing 120Hz iPhone 13 displays but what the report actually reveals and was previously unknown is that Apple is aiming for LG to have high refresh rate LTPO displays up and ready by the time the iPhone 14 has to enter production. 

"LG Display is planning to convert its line to LTPO TFT OLED in the hopes that it will supply them to Apple next year," tip the insiders, and this can only mean one thing - Apple will have two suppliers capable of making modern 120Hz LTPO panels in time for the iPhone 14 series where all of the models will sport high refresh rate panels, not just the more expensive Pro versions.

Moreover, Apple is about to kill the iPhone mini line next year, so LG can concentrate on crafting 120Hz panels for the regular iPhone 14, or whatever it gets titled, and may even encroach on Samsung's territory with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max screens, helping Apple further escape Samsung's OLED panel production monopoly.

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